Software Update: Citrix XenServer 5.6

Citrix enjoys its virtualization environment XenServer released a new version with 5.6 as the version number. This virtualization environment is based on Xen and adds tools to expand its capabilities and simplify management. Citrix XenServer is free to use and can also be upgraded with a paid advanced, enterprise or platinum license. This includes options such as ha, dmc, rbac and provisioning services. The summary of the changes for this release is as follows:

Important Changes to Licensing

Important: Licensing has changed for Citrix XenServer Advanced Edition and higher. These editions require a Citrix License Server (11.6 or higher) to run. To license these editions, you must configure Citrix Licensing and the licensing settings inside each XenServer host.

  • An overview of licensing XenServer, including required settings, is in the Citrix XenServer 5.6 Installation Guide.
  • For information about obtaining license files and installing a license server, navigate to the Citrix Licensing documentation in the Citrix eDocs documentation tree.

New Features:

XenServer 5.6 includes a number of new features and ongoing improvements, including:

  • Role Based Access Controls (RBAC). Administrative users can be assigned one of several roles, which determine which actions different types of administrators can perform in your XenServer environment.
  • Dynamic Memory Control (DMC). DMC lets you change the amount of memory assigned to any running VM without rebooting it. DMC also lets you start additional VMs on a full host by automatically reducing the memory allocated to existing VMs in order to make space. After shutting down VMs or migrating them to another host, remaining VMs can reclaim unused physical host memory.
  • Enhanced VM Snapshots. It is now possible to create full VM snapshots including the disk and memory state. An enhanced snapshots tab in XenCenter lets snapshots be presented in a convenient “tree view.” You can easily roll VMs back to prior snapshot states with a “revert to snapshot” option.
  • Automated VM Optimizations and Power Management. Workload Balancing now lets you automatically power off servers during low usage periods and automatically optimize VM workloads (that is, balance workloads based on your preconfigured preferences). This lets you reduce power consumption by consolidating workloads on the smallest number of hosts and powering off unused hosts. Power Management features include support for wake-on-LAN and vendor-specific implementations from HP and Dell.
  • Storage Link Site Recovery. Enhanced integration with storage-level replication enables recovery of an entire virtual infrastructure at a secondary disaster recovery site.
  • Heterogeneous Polish. Through the support of Intel Flex Migration and AMD Extended Migration features, you can now join servers with different generations of processors to the same resource pool with support for XenMotion, HA, and shared storage. See the XenServer Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for a supported configuration list.
  • Increased performance and scale. Support limits have been doubled to 64 logical processors, 256 GB RAM, and 16 NICs per host.
  • Administrative Logging and Auditing. Administrative changes made from XenCenter or the CLI are logged (by user name, date, time, and so on) and available in the Workload Reports in XenCenter. Note: This feature requires installing the Workload Balancing feature to enable the database that captures these logs.
  • Enhanced XenCenter interface. The XenCenter administrative user interface has been enhanced in a number of areas. New features include enhanced wizards for new VM creation, VM import, new Storage Repository creation, Alerts and Logs; multi select options; multiple DVD drives per VM; and graphic design improvements. The Updates Manager is also newly improved.
  • Enhanced OS support. XenServer 5.6 now supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS/Oracle Enterprise Linux 5.4 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3.
  • OVF Support. Experimental features within XenCenter to support exporting and importing OVF-based virtual appliances.
  • Disk Image Support. Experimental features to support directly importing standalone VMWare VMDK, Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD), Virtual Disk Image (VDI), and Windows Imaging Format (WIM) disk images into XenServer.

Version number 5.6
Release status Final
Website Citrix Systems
License type Freeware/Paid